By Sports Reporter/Doha
Yemen and Iraq teams are the first to arrive for the 24th Gulf Cup football tournament, which will be held in Doha from the November 26 to December 8. Both the teams touched down at the Hamad International Airport yesterday. Yemen players arrived in Doha from Bahrain, where they played a World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying match against Singapore. Yemen’s first match is against the UAE on November 26, before it takes on Qatar on November 29 and Iraq on December 2.
Meanwhile, the ambassador of Iraq to Qatar, Omar Ahmed Karim al-Barazanchi received the Iraqi contingent at the airport yesterday. The Iraq players arrived from Jordan, where they played two matches against Iran and Bahrain in the qualifiers.
Eight Nations based in the region are taking part in the prestigious tournament including hosts Qatar alongside Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Yemen. Two groups of four have already been drawn comprising of the following teams. Games will take place at the Khalifa International Stadium and Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium. Hosts Qatar are in Group A with UAE, Yemen, Iraq, while Group B is made up of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. The top two sides will qualify to the semi-finals, with the winner from each game heading to the final, which is set to take place on the December 8 at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Gulf Cup mascot
Sodeifi visits Oman
Sodeifi – the beloved mascot of the 24th Gulf Cup – is visiting Oman as preparations for the tournament in Qatar continue. The oyster and pearl mascot appeared at a host of locations, including the Omani Football Association, Al Mouj Area, City Centre Mall (Muscat), Muscat Grand Mall, Al Safeer Mall and City Centre Mall (Sahar). Sodeifi also made an appearance during the Oman national team’s match against India.
Sodeifi has already toured a host of venues in Qatar and Kuwait, including malls, schools and businesses. The mascot’s appearances in Oman will build excitement for the tournament.
Speaking about the tour, Khalid Mubarak al-Kuwari, Marketing Director with the Local Organising Committee, said: “After successful tours in Qatar and Kuwait, which saw fans come out and celebrate with Sodeifi ahead of the tournament, we look forward to seeing Sodeifi in Oman as the Sultanate prepares to join the competition in Qatar later this month. We hope young football fans across Oman come out to meet Sodeifi at the various locations he’ll be visiting and kick-start their Arabian Gulf Cup journey in support of the Reds.”
Al-Kuwari added: “We hope that fans from across the GCC will attend the tournament. Everyone is welcome in Doha and we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of fans who wish to cheer on their teams and enjoy all the festivities taking place on the sidelines of the tournament.”
Sodeifi, which features the colours of the Qatari flag, first appeared in 2004 when Qatar hosted the Gulf Cup for the third time.
This will be the fourth time Qatar has hosted the tournament, which is organised by the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation. The Maroons have won the event three times and will be aiming for a glorious double in 2019 after winning the AFC Asian Cup in February.
Koeman names Oman squad
Dutch coach Erwin Koeman has announced a 23-man Oman squad. Oman are the reigning Gulf Cup champions. Al-Ahmar won a second Gulf title following a penalty shootout victory over UAE in 2018.
Koeman said: “I knew the importance of the Gulf Cup to the Omanis. However, it will happen for first time to me that to play two matches within one day rest in between. Anyhow, we have to adapt to that and deliver top performance during the tournament.”
Oman Squad: Fayez al-Rashidi, Ahmed al-Rawahi, Ibrahim al-Mukhaini, Mohamed Musallamy, Ali Busaidi, Abdulsalam Amer al-Mukhaini, Abdul Aziz al-Ghailani, Ahmed Khalifa al-Kaabi, Saad Suhail al-Mukhaini, Fahmi Saeed Durbin, Imran al-Haidi, Mohamed Faraj al-Rawahi, Al Mundhir Rabi al-Alawi, Harib al-Saadi , Zaher Sulaiman al-Aghbari, Mohamed Mubarak al-Ghafri, Ahmad Mubarak, Arshad al-Alawi, Mohsen Jawhar al-Khaldi, Yassin al-Shayadi, Mohsen Ghassani, Saeed al-Ruzaiqi, Abdul Aziz al-Muqbali
Saudi squad announced
Frenchman Herve Renard announced the list of Saudi Arabia players for the 24th Gulf Cup.
Saudi Squad: Mohamed al-Owais, Fawaz al-Qarni, Amin Bukhari, Abdullah Mado, Ziad al-Sahafi, Mohamed Khabrani, Hassan Timbukti, Sultan al-Ghannam, Mohamed al-Buraik, Saud Abdul Hameed, Yasser al-Shahrani, Abdullah Atif, Mohamed Kanoo, Abdul Ilah al-Malki, Salman al-Faraj, Turki al-Ammar, Yahya al-Shehri, Abdulaziz Albishi, Nawaf al-Abed, Salem al-Dosari, Hattan Bahabri, Firas al-Braikan, Abdullah al-Hamdan.
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